The women who accused Jian Ghomeshi of sexual assault, abuse and harassment took extraordinary risks and gained nothing. If Ghomeshi is guilty, their courage may have prevented others from being harmed by him, and it has certainly emboldened others to speak out about sexual assault and abuse. These women have changed the way people think and talk about domestic violence, workplace harassment and sexual assault.
Since they came forward, police have charged Ghomeshi with seven counts of sexual assault and one of choking, for which he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted (he has pleaded “not guilty” to all charges). But instead of feeling vindication, or at least relief for having told their stories, some of these women are now filled with dread, because Kevin Donovan – the Toronto Star investigative reporter with whom I reported the allegations against Ghomeshi – is writing a “tell-tale, behind the scenes” book about Ghomeshi’s “secret life”. He has promised readers “the whole story” with “greater detail and background than we would ever include in a newspaper story”.
The problem is that the stories Donovan and I collected contain dozens of details that could compromise the anonymity of our sources, and Donovan has refused to proactively consult these women on the removal of these details. Instead, he tells me he “doesn’t work with sources”, that he plans to tell the “full story” and that his relationship with sources “is not a partnership”.
One of these women emailed me:
are you still in contact with Kevin? tell me exactly what to say to him to make him stop publishing my stuff?